It never amazes us to hear about all of the ways our Mystery Shoppers see servers and bartenders stealing from their hotels. With the advancement in technology, especially point of sale systems, you would think that it would be harder for servers to steal. However, in many ways, it actually makes it easier.
With the advancement in technology, a server can make a guest check in seconds. That means they can easily manipulate a guest check in seconds. Here is one example our Mystery Shoppers see. A server serves 2 breakfast buffets and presents check number 101 to a customer. The customer pays $40 cash. Instead of closing the check to cash, the server pockets the cash and goes back and splits that check and creates check number 102 for 1 buffet and check number 103 for 1 buffet. Now the server has two open checks for very popular items that he/she can do many things with. He/she can present a check their next customer who orders a buffet or they can add additional items to the buffet or transfer it to another guest check. The opportunities are endless.
This not only works with buffets but with any items that are not prepared by the kitchen such as beverages, deserts, and especially alcoholic drinks.
How can you protect your restaurant?
1. Program a button on your POS for every single item you serve. Example: instead of a button for mixed drink, program a button for every single brand name of alcohol you have.
2. Require servers to input correct table numbers on their checks. Have a manager or supervisor occasionally pick up signed checks as soon as a guest leaves and verify the table number. If the table number on the check does not match, the server may be re-using checks.
3. Make sure all of your POS terminals are in a very visible location. The terminal should be in a place where it is seen by supervisors, other employees, and guests.
4. Subscribe to a Mystery Shopping Service. Have undercover shoppers come in on a regular basis to measure internal controls. It may cost a few dollars up front, however, most restaurants lose about 5 percent of their revenues do to poor internal controls so it will quickly pay for itself.
Remember, you only spend a few minutes looking over your employees for theft potential. They have 8 hours a day to figure out how to steal.